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Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 17:12 UK

Scots end Gers pair's cap career

Scotland captain Barry Ferguson (left) and Allan McGregor
Ferguson and McGregor were shown making V-signs on international duty

Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor of Rangers have had their international careers ended by the Scottish FA.

The SFA acted after the pair were involved in a drinking session after the defeat by the Netherlands and made V-signs on the bench against Iceland.

Rangers have stripped midfielder Ferguson of the team captaincy and suspended both him and goalkeeper McGregor for two weeks without pay.

Veteran defender David Weir has been named the new Rangers captain.

Ferguson, 31, and McGregor, 27, have apologised for their actions, but their Ibrox futures could also now be in doubt.

The pair had initially been dropped to the bench by Scotland manager George Burley following the early-hours drinking session at the team hotel following the 3-0 World Cup qualifying loss in Amsterdam.

I apologise wholeheartedly for the embarrassment caused to Scotland, Rangers, both sets of supporters and my friends and family

Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson

SFA chief executive Gordon Smith on Thursday backed his manager's action and suggested that the matter was now closed.

But the governing body's president, George Peat, demanded a further investigation in light of the gestures made by the two players while they were substitutes for Wednesday's 2-1 win over Iceland.

And, following a hectic Friday of meetings, phone calls and an apparent flood of complaints from Scotland supporters, further action has been taken by the SFA and Rangers.

"In light of the events of the past 48 hours, and following further discussions between the national team manager and the chief executive, it has been decided that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor will no longer be considered for international selection by Scotland," said an SFA spokesman.

"This action has been taken in the best interest of the squad, the fans and the country.

"We are determined to qualify for the World Cup and we must ensure that nothing is allowed to distract us from achieving this goal."

News conference - Rangers manager Walter Smith

McGregor and Ferguson had earlier on Friday been sent home from Rangers training and later had a meeting with Ibrox chief executive Martin Bain.

Ferguson, who was Scotland captain and has been capped 45 times, told Rangers' website: "I deeply regret what happened last weekend and the events during the last week and apologise wholeheartedly for the embarrassment caused to Scotland, Rangers, both sets of supporters and my friends and family.

"I have always considered playing for Rangers and Scotland an honour and a privilege and nothing will change that and I am bitterly disappointed by the announcement that I will not be selected for Scotland again."

McGregor, who had made his fourth international appearance in Amsterdam after deposing Sunderland's Craig Gordon, was also contrite.

"We all make mistakes in life and I am very disappointed to have let Rangers, Scotland, my family and all the fans down," he said.

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"I am also desperately disappointed that I will not be selected again for Scotland at this stage in my career."

Rangers chief executive Bain said that the two players had brought the club into disrepute.

"The management of the club has taken the view that this has damaged both Rangers and Scotland and is unacceptable," he said.

Rangers lose two of their top players at a time when they are chasing Celtic in the race for the Scottish title, but manager Walter Smith said that action was needed, although the drinking session was not his main concern.

"We were unhappy about that situation, but that was something for George to act on," said Smith.

"The more disappointing aspect for us was the subsequent action on the bench on Wednesday night.

"From the club's point of view, that was not a good image to project."



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see also
Peat demands Scots drinks probe
03 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Pair let Scots down - Jefferies
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Scotland's hall of shame
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Scotland 2-1 Iceland
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals


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